By Associated Press
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is a sharp-looking, roomy and versatile minivan with more technology than previous Chrysler vans and thoughtful features that other minivans can lack.
Every Pacifica has Chrysler’s newly improved Stow-N-Go seats that are arguably the easiest and tidiest to get out of the way when extra cargo space is needed.
All upper models of the Pacifica come standard with multiple grocery bag hooks behind the third-row seats.
The Pacifica offers a second-row console between captain’s chairs that has a front storage slot for quick and handy access to computer tablets.
Chrysler’s latest generation UConnect touchscreen system in upper models of the Pacifica is one of the easiest-to-understand comprehensive infotainment control systems in cars today.
Other available technology includes a 20-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, surround view exterior camera system and parallel and perpendicular park assist.
The 2017 Pacifica, which has the most powerful engine of all minivans, ties with the 2017 Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna in top minivan fuel economy — 22 miles per gallon in combined city/highway driving — even as it undercuts the prices of these competitors’ base models.
The starting manufacturer’s retail price, including destination charge, is $29,590 for the base 2017 Pacifica LX and compares with $30,690 for a base 2017 Sienna L and $30,790 for a base 2017 Honda Odyssey LX.
Among the standard features on the Pacifica LX are 17-inch wheels, three-zone temperature control, remote keyless entry, rearview camera, 5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity with voice command, fabric-covered seats, cruise control, power windows and door locks, eight-way, power-adjusting driver’s seat and power, heated outside mirrors.
Minivan shoppers, however, can find bargain-priced vans with less standard equipment, such as the Dodge Grand Caravan with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $24,590.
Consumer Reports puts predicted reliability of the new Pacifica at below average.
The federal government said the 2017 Pacifica earned five out of five stars for occupant protection in frontal and side crash tests.
Replacing the Town and Country minivan in Chrysler’s lineup, the Pacifica is built at the same Canadian assembly plant by the same parent company — Fiat Chrysler — that builds and sells the Grand Caravan. But the vans appeal to different buyers.
With its quiet interior, refined ride and upscale looks, the Pacifica aims at the Honda and Toyota buyers who seek amenities, comfort and technology.
The Pacifica’s exterior has front styling that looks more like that of a contemporary sedan.
Inside, the Pacifica’s functionality is integrated into an upscale, spacious environment punctuated by high quality-looking plastics on the dashboard and pleasing materials on the seats.
The test Pacifica Limited felt like a luxury car with its leather-covered seats and center dashboard UConnect control center operated through good-sized buttons, knobs and 8.4-inch touchscreen.
Menus in the display screen were not intimidating, and controls were easy to find and use.
The only oddity in appearance seemed to be the steering wheel with its big, heavy-looking, plastic center.
The revamped, 3.6-liter, dual overhead cam, Pentastar V-6 mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission responded quickly and delivered strong power for the 17-foot-long Pacifica.
The engine’s 287 horsepower surpasses that of other minivans, while the Pacifica’s peak torque of 262 foot-pounds at 4,000 rpm tops all but the 263 foot-pounds at 4,700 rpm in the 2017 Sienna.
The Pacifica’s electric power steering had a mainstream feel, and brakes worked well to bring the 4,300-plus-pound vehicle to a stop.
The Pacifica is the first Chrysler minivan with an independent rear suspension, which allows a deep cargo cavity at the back of the vehicle.
The ride overall in the test van with 18-inch wheels and tires was compliant over most road bumps and stress-free for easy long-distance traveling.
The test Pacifica averaged near the government’s 22 miles per gallon rating, which translated into 430 miles of travel range on a tank of regular unleaded gasoline.